Why did revolutions break out in so many parts of Europe in 1848-49, and why did they fail?

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Roy Kei Sung Chi

Why did revolutions break out in so many parts of Europe in 1848-49, and why did they fail?

The year of 1848-49 in Europe was called the year of revolution. Nearly all the continents in Europe, except British and Russia, had experienced revolution. These revolutions were the result of both the long term and short term causes. For the long term causes, there had influence of population growth, industrialization and challenge to the 1815 Vienna settlement. For the short term causes, there had agricultural crises, industrial crises and the combination of the two.

The first long term causes was population growth. One of the most important element of the general development of Europe is population growth. During the first half of the 19th century, the population growth in Europe was so rapid. Although the productivity of the arable land did increase, by 1840, many are in Europe still not able to sustain their growing population. This result in not enough food for the growing population. Social disorder often occurred. This was the population force to the 1848 revolution.

The second long-term causes was industrialization. During the first half of the 19th century, most of the area on the European Continent had experienced the modest type of industrial development. In the concentrated area of Belgium, France and Germany, their foundation industries of iron, steel and textiles had expand rapidly. Although the large-scale industries were not yet commonplace in Europe. Industrial towns had developed rapidly. this growth was stimulated by the migrations from the overpopulated rural areas. the displaced peasants in the rural area flooded to the industrial town to seek alternative life. The urban condition which resulted had explained the long-term causes for the 1848 revolution. Housings were in shortage and thus produce terrible overcrowding. Also disease spread in these area, the average life expandency of a industrial worker in Lille was just only 32.

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The migrants who flooded to the cities, most of them were uneducated and displayed criminal tendencies there. They had little sense of loyalty to their adopted town, and they were frequently unemployed the city authorities became difficult to control because of the great tension developed between the migrants and the native. Riots and strikes always occurred in the city.

Besides, industrialization had threaten the position of the skilled artisans. Industrialization brought with machines and constant supply of the cheap labour had threaten the position of skilled artisans. On the other hands, the protection of the trade guilds were ...

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